Monday, 19 November, 2018

Toronto city clerk says it's becoming 'virtually impossible' to hold municipal election

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his daughter Caroline arrives for the Spirit of Hope benefit in Toronto Darren Calabrese CP Former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his daughter Caroline arrives for the Spirit of Hope benefit in Toronto
Cary Marshall | 16 September, 2018, 07:57

Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford and Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey sit with the Reid family at their farm in Plympton-Wyoming. People are angry, Stephen LeDrew says, because the changes to rules are coming in the middle of an election. It invokes the notwithstanding clause to override Monday's Ontario Superior Court ruling, which found the Ford government's previous attempt to reduce the number of wards in Toronto unconstitutional.

City staff said they have printed two sets of voter cards - one for the eventuality of 47 wards, one for the 25 - which are scheduled to be mailed to voters soon.

Efforts to end last year's college teacher's strike prompted the former Liberal government to recall legislature in order to pass back-to-work legislation on November 18.

Several Conservative spokemen have said that Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause is popular with voters.

"Every day that goes by creates greater uncertainty and raises in me a huge concerns over the proper conduct of this election", city clerk Ulli Watkiss told councillors.

More news: Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

It says that the elected representatives of the city "want to assure the people of Toronto that we understand and respect the critical role that city hall and local democracy play in building the communities in which we live". She said the Toronto caucus is satisfied with Trudeau's decision not to intervene.

"We believe MPPs elected in Toronto have a responsibility to defend the city, its democratic institutions, and the rights of citizens to a free and fair municipal election". He wouldn't say, however, if the province has a backup plan should Toronto's clerk find that the city can not be ready for the vote in time.

The Big City Mayors' Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities also threw its support behind Toronto on Thursday, criticizing Ford for his actions.

The Opposition NDP, Green and Liberal parties had asked Progressive Conservative MPPs to vote against the bill invoking the notwithstanding clause - but in a public vote, dissidence would have been surprising.

"We've used the notwithstanding clause in this province in the not too distant past", Moe said. The legislation has passed first reading and the Tory house leader has said it is expected to pass final reading on the week of September 24.

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